Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

google is your butler- the tension between utility and privacy

Filed under
Google

I’ve often defended Google’s thirst to know things about people with a butler analogy. Good software should, like a butler, try hard to understand your preferences and act on them for you without you even realizing they are there. That means learning and remembering things you’ve done in the past, and using that to base recommendations on.

Like a butler, you want your tools to work intelligently based on context and history, and Google is without doubt one of those tools- for many of us, the most important single tool in our computing lives. The problem, of course, is that your butler has a lot of incentives to keep your private information private.

Google’s incentives run at least partially the other way- they have strong incentives to mine that data extensively, to share it with others, and to collect well more than most people might think is useful, in the name of being the ultimate butler. And these incentives lead to risks- incentives to share with third parties that you might not trust; risks that things might be subpoenaed; risks that they might leak to Google employees or even outside Google; risks that effective advertising might use such information to manipulate your political views. On balance, most of us are going to look at these issues and decide that we’re OK with Google knowing these things, because the risks are remote and the benefits tangible. So we acknowledge there is a tension between privacy and functionality, and move on.

Rest Here




More in Tux Machines

GNOME News

  • Hurrah! Dash to Dock Now Supports GNOME 3.24
    The Dash to Dock GNOME Shell Extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.24, and improves its app launch keyboard shortcut feature.
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed Is the First to Offer the GNOME 3.24 Desktop Environment
    openSUSE Project's Dominique Leuenberger was proud to announce the availability of the recently released GNOME 3.24 desktop environment into the software repositories of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release. According to the developer, and to our knowledge, openSUSE Tumbleweed is now the first GNU/Linux distributions to offer the GNOME 3.24 packages to their users. We know that openSUSE is a distro mostly oriented towards the KDE Plasma desktop, but support for GNOME is provided at the same level of quality.

Linux Action Show ends after 10-year run

This past Sunday, Jupiter Broadcasting announced the Linux Action Show—one of the longest-running podcasts in the Linux world, which has aired almost continuously since June 10, 2006—is coming to an end and closing down production. Over a decade. That is a seriously good run for any show—podcast, TV, radio or otherwise. When I and my co-host created the Linux Action Show (typically abbreviated as LAS) nearly 11 years ago, we had no idea it would last this long. Nor did we have any idea of how far it would grow. Read more

Red Hat News

Samsung Z4 gets WiFi Certified with Tizen 3.0 onboard, Launching soon

Today, the next Tizen smartphone, which should be the named the Samsung Z4, has received its WiFi certification (certification ID: WFA70348) – Model number SM-Z400F/DS with firmware Z400F.001 on the 2.4Ghz band. WiFi certification is usually one of the last steps before a mobile device gets released and means a launch is coming real soon as we have already seen the Z4 make its debut appearance at the FCC. For the previous model, the Samsung Z2, we saw it get WIFi certified on 7 July and then launched on 23 August, a mere 6 weeks. Read more